FLORIDA: Millions Face Days Or Weeks Without Power

The Washington Post reports:

Millions of Floridians grappled with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on Wednesday, confronting a sweltering reality: More than 40 percent of Florida still lacked electricity, and for some of them, the lights might not come back on for days or even weeks.

“We understand what it means to be in the dark,” said Robert Gould, vice president and chief communications officer for Florida Power and Light (FPL), the state’s largest utility. “We understand what it means to be hot and without air conditioning. We will be restoring power day and night.” But, he acknowledged: “This is going to be a very uncomfortable time.”

Across the nation’s third most-populous state, that discomfort played out in homes that were silent without the usual thrum of perpetual air-conditioning. It meant refrigerators were unable to cool milk, laundry machines were unable to clean clothes and, for the particularly young and old, potential danger in a state where the temperatures can range from warm to stifling.

More from the New York Times:

Repairing the grid after a major hurricane is a complex task, experts said. Utilities first have to send crews out to inspect the damage before they can figure out how best to restore service. That assessment can take days, and heavy flooding and debris from the storm can delay workers trying to reach key areas.

Restoration is not always as simple as replacing wires and poles toppled by high winds or fallen trees. Floods can cause damage to electrical substations that link transmission lines with local distribution lines.

Many buildings connected to the grid may also have sustained damage to their electrical systems. Those places need to be identified and isolated from the rest of the network before power starts flowing again, in order to prevent short-circuiting and other safety hazards.

  • Todd20036

    Guess they should have prayed harder.

    We’ve been blamed for Irma, yet the gay areas of Florida (the Keys, Miami, Ft Lauderdale) emerged relatively unscathed. Go figure.

    That being said, hope the JMGers down there stay safe.

    • John Ruff

      The Keys got fucked hard.

      • edrex

        and put away wet.

    • Jmdintpa

      The Keys have been destroyed. Miami was hit hard by a big surge. That said hate preachers gonna hate. They have to blame their gods hate and destruction on someone.

    • Lumpy Gaga

      And then, of course, there is humanity:

      Rick left Key West but returned before the hurricane hit. On Saturday, a guy Rick knows broke into his house and Rick chased him off, posting a photo of the guy on Facebook, which the local law enforcement noted

      Rick hasn’t posted to Facebook since the photo of the guy who broke a window in a French door to break into his house – which was around 7:30pm on Saturday. Hopefully he finds a way to communicate with the world soon.

  • lattebud
    • greenmanTN

      She ain’t having nun of it!

      • Ragnar Lothbrok

        She doing good work. Let’s hope she makes a habit of it.

        • greenmanTN

          At least she’s not being a wimp(le) about it.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            Cleaning up like that should really cut down the pew.

          • greenmanTN

            If she had just smacked Irma on the hand with a ruler in the first place she could be inside reading a lesbian romance novel, but no!

          • Lumpy Gaga

            You SUCK!

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            Spread the word Gaga, far and wide.

        • Lumpy Gaga

          Booooo!

    • Karl Dubhe

      I thought that was a Muslim in a Burka…

      • Silver Badger

        So did I. I was waiting for a good christian to shoot her for using a deadly weapon of destruction.

    • worstcultever

      Badass!

    • lattebud

      Puts the “thoughts and prayers” crowd to shame

    • Lane

      Oh, god. (so to speak)
      That is INCREDIBLY UNSAFE.
      No eye/face protection.
      No Kevlar chaps.
      Flowing clothing that can catch in the chain, catch on branches.
      Headwear that reduces her field of vision.
      No visible hearing protection (over the ear is crucial; tiny earplugs will not provide enough protection; if she’s already actually deaf than it’s not an issue).
      No visible protective footwear.
      Cutting parts of the downed limb that could spring back against the saw and cause it to strike her body.

      After Hurricane Bob in 1991 on Cape Cod, a large number of the injuries seen at emergency departments were from improper chainsaw use, primarily from who had no idea what they were doing. Ever since I’ve been super-mindful of chainsawing techniques.

  • John Ruff

    Duh, it’s called a hurricane. That’s how you live in Florida: precarious.

  • Blake Jordan

    Hypothetical:

    Say there were enough votes in 1996 (?) to amend the US constitution to limit marriage to one man – one women… and that’s what they did instead of DOMA…
    Does anyone think their would be enough votes in the near future to undo it?

    • John Ruff

      You’re supposed to type OT: first.

    • Steve Teeter

      No, not the way things are right now. Too much of the country has bought into Trumpian conservatism, and don’t yet see the disaster it’s leading to. They will, though. Millions will have their moment of, “But you can’t cut that! I need that!” And we will tell them, “This is what you voted for.”

      Repeal of such a hypothetical amendment would require at the least a progressive Democrat president in office to lend his or her weight to the repeal cause. I don’t see that on the radar screen at the moment. Let’s be thankful we don’t actually need such a repeal effort. And be hopeful that we won’t need something like it any time soon.

      • Reality.Bites

        It would also need Democratic majorities in ¾ of state legislatures, a nearly unsurmountable task.

    • Reality.Bites

      Not in our lifetimes.

  • clay

    I hope that people and organizations of people take advantage of this opportunity to localize the power grid (particularly in the Keys and on barrier islands) with a massive influx of solar panels and batteries. Since the ports appear to be easier to repair, I hope they take advantage of the opportunity to create sub-state regional grids that can be fed with compressed natural gas, rather than a single central high voltage trunk line. I hope that new substations are located out of the anticipated 100 year flood zone (though that will be difficult, particularly with Trump nixing that as a federal rule).

    • John30013

      I thought they were “clarifying” (i.e., walking back) that part of the executive order in light of recent calamities…

      • clay

        They can’t (legally) do that– Trump’s administration has been writing the rescinding EOs in a format that makes them un-revocable (“un-clarifying”?) except by an act of Congress. It’s been removed from the Executive Branch’s authority and handed permanently to the Legislative Branch.

        • sfbob

          I would think that separation of powers would preclude such a move (though I could be wrong about that).

    • Ragnar Lothbrok

      No, jesus gave us the fossil fuels to burn today, tomorrow and forever and ever.

    • Gustav2

      Solar power is illegal in the Sunshine State!

  • Lizard

    No power at my place in Georgia, either. It’s going to be a long cleanup.

  • Karl Dubhe

    High temperatures and senior citizens don’t get along well. 🙁

    • DonnaLee

      People who go there because they hate the cold and like hot weather need to reconsider moving there. Their hot is really hot, and that oh-so possibility of hurricanes doesn’t work when you need electricity to live. People can retire to southern states without having to go as far as Florida.

  • Rex

    It will be just like camping.
    Without all the fun.

    • Todd20036

      Or the camping supplies.

      • Lizard

        Or the consent.

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    • Ninja0980

      Camping is fun?

      • greenmanTN

        Depends on who you’re with. After you admire the scenery there’s nothing to do but fuck.

        • madscntst

          Please let me know the next time you go camping.

      • Anastasia Beaverhousen

        At the Ritz.

  • TampaDink

    Power outages & restoration in the wake of a hurricane can be (like hurricane force winds) hit or miss. Although we haven’t returned home yet, we have learned that our immediate neighborhood has power & never lost it during the storm…but one of our best friends who lives about a mile & a half away still has no electricity or phone service…whereas his boyfriend whose home is on a small island in Boca Ciega Bay is St. Pete Beach returned home to find his house…with 12 ft. glass walls that face the water…unscathed with working electricity, phone & water. Go figure.

    • Zeldacat

      yetanotherLaura told me yesterday that they say her neighborhood should have power back by sometime over the weekend. Bleah. It’s really spotty.

      • TampaDink

        I suspect that our power was spared due to sheer luck…our ‘hood is abundant with large live oak trees. Even if we’d lost power, we would likely have been among the first to have it restored since we live 2 blocks from a major “switch” for the phone company.

    • Ninja0980

      It’s like a tornado hitting.
      One block is fine, another is wiped out.
      Glad to hear you are doing okay.

      • Lumpy Gaga

        One country gets Trudeau, the other Trump.

        • greenmanTN

          Chaos theory. A butterfly farts in Benghazi and we get Trump.

          (No offense intended to the actual casualties in Benghazi.)

      • TampaDink

        True….with the notable difference of minutes of advance warning vs. days to prepare. Due to this tornadoes have always been more frightening to me than hurricanes.

    • TampaZeke

      Glad to hear you are Ok. I was starting to worry. I’m only able to check in for a minute or two a couple time a day. Rationing cell battery until the power returns. I don’t know if you heard or not but Robert E. Lee elementary school burned to the ground yesterday. There was a power surge when TECO returned power to the area and it burned the beautiful historic building down.

      • (((GC)))

        Glad you’re ok!

      • Randy Left Brooklyn

        Glad both you and TampaDink are well.

  • A battery-powered fan can make all the difference in the world. I bought one after a blackout occurred during one of the warmest and muggiest nights of the year, and it came in REALLY handy when the 2013 derecho blew through West Virginia.
    https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B013BOC6VC/ezvid02-20

    • RKitty01

      I’m still traumatized by that damn derecho. We didn’t have power for a week. It was hell.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    Saw a story this morning of a couple in their 90’s living without power.
    They need a generator right now!

    • Silver Badger

      Unless you know how to operate a generator, they can cause more harm than good.

      • Ragnar Lothbrok

        Same could be said of a broom at their age and with their medical needs. But I would think a volunteer could set up, and maintain for them.

        • Silver Badger

          In a perfect world, maybe. In our world, not so much.

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            You’re bringing me down 🙁

  • Skeptical_Inquirer

    Yet the GOP state level politicians won’t say climate change. City mayors will but nothing higher.

  • Ken M

    Electricity…Out of sight, out of mind, until you don’t have it of course. Anyone know if all of Harvey’s victims have their power back, just to compare times.

  • Tulle Christensen

    I got my power back early yesterday afternoon, but my electric pole is high priority as it also powers a lift station. I hope everyone else gets power soon

    • Tulle Christensen

      Folks, I will be away for a couple of hours, gonna play pickup sticks in the front yard before it gets too hot

      • pj

        pace yourself kitten

  • VodkaAndPolitics

    We still don’t have power, I got a text message from Florida Power and Light that it would be back on Sunday.

    • Lizard

      They let you know when it’ll be back? Color me jealous.

  • This disaster should finally convince the electric utilities to put the lines underground. With climate change/global warming, powerful tropical storms may become much more frequent. How many more hundreds of poles and untold miles of wire do the utilities want to restore before they get smart and go underground?

    • David L. Caster

      Electric power utilities will be stringing wire on poles for a long time before they replace them with underground lines. Trenching through already developed neighborhoods is a royal bitch, very expensive, and highly disruptive.

      • The_Wretched

        Time for a boston dynamics tunneling robot!

        • David L. Caster

          Something like that. The problem is a lot more complex than that though.

      • bzrd

        in my neighborhood, they having been replacing the 70+ years old water pipes all summer, yes “highly disruptive and a royal bitch” but the alternative is massive water leaks with more each year. In California, prone to more droughts, this was needed now

        • David L. Caster

          The critical difference is that the water lines were already underground. Their location had already been established and was known. Opening a new trench passing through already developed areas requires a great deal of study, planning, and coordination with other utilities and their management, perhaps even involving relocation of existing infrastructure components. All of that costs a lot of money and you know ratepayers would have to pay for most if not all of that.

          I don’t dispute the need to do something about the problem, I’m just trying to explain why there is no rush to do it. Clearly all new development should be done with buried utilities. The grid would be much safer if it were underground too. Nevertheless, the cost is prohibitive.

  • The_Wretched

    It’s weird to see how the RWNJ talking point on the hurricanes is playing out. RL conservatives are all down playing the severity of the harms with some version of “the damage is less than the worst case scenarios therefor it’s not bad.” It’s a variety of ‘comparing down’ argument and those are used to justify bad things (you can always find something worse to compare down against). As far as I can tell, the point of down playing the storms is to backfill on the ‘global warming is a liberal conspiracy’ bs.

  • TJ

    Solar garden lights can be useful for emergency lighting. Charge them up during the day, bring ’em in at night.

  • Pohaku

    I find it ironic the ” Sunshine State” is without power for weeks. The legislative needs to require all new homes and rebuilt ones to have solar as part of the equation… more than half the people now could have juice from their solar units. Given the legislatures reticense, the pro solar people should sue saying ” they want God’s light” to power their homes, as part of their belief. Relgious Freedom Laws could be used to say if you don’t allow solar, you violate my religious rights, as the Bible says it is God’s light.

  • mikeinftl

    Yep no power here. 2 house away have power, but not us.

    • Pip

      Good thoughts to you that you get power soon!

  • boatboy_srq

    Fl. Without power. In early September.

    That’s a recipe for a disaster after the disaster.

  • Professor Barnhardt
  • Joseph Miceli

    Ugh. I spent a week in Fort Lauderdale without power after Wilma. I cooked in a large pot over a can of sterno and washed with another 5 gallon pot in the tub so that wasn’t really a problem. No AC though….I can’t sleep at temps above 75 degrees and I prefer 62. I was fucking MISERABLE!!!!
    I feel horrible for Florida…but I can’t say that they don’t deserve this. Everyone said after Andrew, After Wilma, after every major storm…”we need to upgrade the power system to prevent these outages!” Ideas were floated from burying lines to creating localized networks where major generators could be “plugged in” to the system at different points. None of the improvements was acted upon. This is the result.
    This leads to an even broader discussion: Now that climate change is upon us, what are we doing to adapt to it? When are we going to recognize that drywall is no longer a proper building material in flood zones (which now include the entire Gulf Coast?) When do we adapt our building codes to include hurricane cleats on all roofs?
    We should have made these changes and others 20 years ago, but now that they are rebuilding Houston let’s hope they rebuild it correctly. NOLA missed its opportunity as the next hurricane to hit will reveal. I hope Florida and Houston don’t miss theirs.

  • TampaZeke

    I’m still without power at home and at my office. My street is the only one in my immediate neighborhood without power. Luckily I was able to run an extension cord from a neighbors house today to charge my phone. Hoping to be back up and running shortly.

  • Bill Castellani

    Flynn: “If I, a guy who knows this business, had done a tenth of what Hillary Clinton had done….I would be in jail today.”

  • Yann
  • JCF

    Oy vey, that temperature! Sans A/C! }-X

  • Zollergasse

    My mother-in-law lives in Orlando on the same grid as Disney. Her electricity was back within 24 hours. Money talks and they wanted those parks can up and running as soon as possible.